A Fairly Thorough Comparison of Arrest Needle and Spread Needle with Hit%.


Retired Game Mechanic Novelist
Guildcard 2
I was originally just going to post a reply to a quick question in the QQ-QA thread but the answer soon grew into a wall of text, so I decided I should just post it as a guide.

First, on RAmar/RAmarl, Arrest Needle is always better, as the activation rate for Seize is just insufficient. Hence we'll put our main focus on Android Rangers in our discussion below.

There's a major difference in how the two weapons work. Arrest Needles are hitless, so it relies heavily on its third S (S3) to paralyze its target, which has a very high chance to activate due to its base power of 110, which makes it capable of paralyzing most targets as long as it can hit. On the other hand, hit Spread Needles relies on using its more accurate S2 or even S1 to improve its chance of hitting, which gives it a decent chance to paralyze despite the lower 94 base paralysis power of Seize. Overall it's usually a tradeoff between absolute S3 reliability with a chance to paralyze earlier with S2 or S1.

Continued from the last paragraph, it is notable that you can try to start a combo (NN-) before a spawn and hit those enemies with S3 as soon as they spawn in a party. This is particularly favorable for Arrest Needle and makes it a very clean way to paralyze enemies. It is also notable that there's paralysis desync in this game; if you successfully land a paralyzing special while an enemy is already paralyzed, it will renew the paralysis timer for your client but not for your party members, which potentially allows Dorphons to run rampant on your party members' clients despite them being permanently paralyzed on your screen. This makes hit Spread Needle a bit more of messy way to control.

On the other hand, hit Spread Needle has a stronger partial combo in some scenarios, that is to use NS or SS combos to try and paralyze by second hit, which might be more useful when enemies are making it difficult to do full combos needed to utilize Arrest Needle effectively. I thought about this being an advantage for SN when I was in an unorganized party doing MA4C where Dorphons were running rampant. I'm unsure if this advantage is significant or not, but I have it included it here for the sake of completeness.

As an implication of the first point, how well these weapons work compared to each other also depends on the enemy's EVP and ESP. If the enemy has high EVP and low ESP, hit Spread Needle will work better, whereas if the enemy has low EVP and high ESP, Arrest Needle will work better. Below we'll discuss four scenarios which should cover everything. In the first two we're trying to control enemies which cannot be frozen (Dorphon and Girtablulu), which is the main use of these weapons in a party, while in the latter two we're against enemies which can be frozen (by freeze traps), which is more applicable when you solo.

The first scenario, and possibly the most important use, is to use these weapons to control groups of Dorphons in Dorphon spam quests. For this case in particular, on RAcast, Arrest Needle is always superior compared to hit SN if you do NNS on both weapons, roughly comparable to ~43h SN if you do NSS on both weapons, and roughly comparable to ~38h SN if you do SSS. Second or third case here is probably the more important ones, as NNS success rate is usually insufficient. On RAcaseal, Arrest Needle has a 100% chance to activate on third S (provided there are no accuracy loss from manual evasion), so by using hit SN here you essentially are trading absolute reliability for the potential to paralyze earlier. As mentioned before, it might work out better in an unorganized party where Dorphons are everywhere and it's hard to do full combos.

To put things into perspective, here are some numbers for RAcast. Arrest will always paralyze provided it can hit, while Seize will paralyze with 93% chance if it can hit. The 93% chance is already included in the numbers below.

RAcast Arrest Needle activation rate:
S1: 0%
S2: 40.4%
S3: 95.78%
Total activation rate (NSS): 97.48488 %

Spread Needle 40h activation rate:
S1: 16.554%
S2: 61.752%
S3: 93%
Total activation rate (NSS): 97.32264%
Total activation rate (SSS): 97.7658501744%

Spread Needle 50h activation rate:
S1: 21.204%
S2: 67.797%
S3: 93%
Total activation rate (NSS): 97.74579%
Total activation rate (SSS): 98.2237726884%

Spread Needle various hit%, total activation rate (NSS):
0% Hit Spread Needle: 93.179990712 %
15% Hit Spread Needle: 96.264765 %
30% Hit Spread Needle: 96.89949 %
35% Hit Spread Needle: 97.111065 %
40% Hit Spread Needle: 97.32264 %
45% Hit Spread Needle: 97.534215 %
50% Hit Spread Needle: 97.74579 %
80% Hit Spread Needle: 99.01524 %
100% Hit Spread Needle: 99.86154 %

And for RAcl numbers:

Arrest Needle activation rate:
S1: 1.3%
S2: 45.3%
S3: 101.695 (%) (capped at 100%)
Total activation rate (NNS): 100%

Spread Needle 50h activation rate:
S1: 24.459%
S2: 72.0285%
S3: 93%
Total activation rate (NSS): 98.041995 %
Total activation rate (SSS): 98.52090344295 %

Overall the chances are really good for both weapons, so you can just use what you have on hand if you don't want to min-max just yet.

The second most important use is to paralyze Girtablulu. Here the stats favors Arrest Needle significantly since Girtablulu has higher ESP and low EVP. I don't know if the flinging arms(?) are able to manual evade Arrest Needle though, but if you attack it before it can swing them around (for example if it spawns facing away from you and turns to target you) you should paralyze it every time. The high ESP means in particular that while Arrest still has a 100% chance to paralyze if it hits, the chance for Seize to activate now is 79.5%. Due to there being two(?) targets however, generally both weapons will do pretty well. There are rooms for min-maxing here regarding the chance of paralyzing on second hit, but I will not discuss it in the current version of the guide.

For the third scenario, the one which significantly favors hit Spread Needle, is against high EVP low ESP enemies without freezing them first. Let's take Gibbons for example. The activation rates for Seize to paralyze Ul Gibbon/Zol Gibbon are 96%/88.5% respectively, and 100%/100% with Arrest. But due to the 913/915 EVP these two enemies have, Arrest needle has roughly 57%/40% (RAcast) or 63/55% (RAcaseal) chance to paralyze Ul Gibbon/Zol Gibbon with S3 with no manual evasion, while 50 hit Spread Needle has 95.6448%/81.62355% (RAcast) or 96%/86.86% (RAcaseal) chance to paralyze Ul Gibbon/Zol Gibbon with S3 with no manual evasion. In case these numbers were confusing (I imagine they are), all you needed to know is that since Arrest Needle can barely hit them while Spread Needle can hit decently without as much of a penalty from using Seize, therefore Spread Needle works a lot better for this scenario. This may be useful for soloing.

The final scenario is against enemies you've frozen with freeze traps first. Arrest Needle is (pretty much) always better in this scenario. RAcast can always hit S3 with Arrest Needle against enemy with less than 700 EVP and practically will almost always hit enemies with exactly 700 EVP (0.02% chance to miss), while RAcaseal can always hit S3 on enemies with less than 730 EVP. With the -30% EVP reduction from freezing an enemy, everything except Deldepth can be hit reliably with S3 on Arrest Needle. Combined with the higher activation chance Arrest have, Arrest Needle have a significantly better chance at paralyzing.

Keep in mind in the last two scenarios, in many cases better it is better to just drop a freeze trap and don't bother paralyzing them when you're in a good party, as the party's offensive power is usually enough to clean up all the enemies while they're frozen.

To sum this all up, Arrest Needle and hit Spread Needles functions differently, with Arrest Needle better for starting NNS prespawn and hit Spread Needle better for partial combos. For Dorphons, RAct can benefit from high hit SN while RAcl can just use Arrest Needle. For Girtablulu, Arrest Needle is probably better (I still do not know if there's significant manual evasion here) but generally both will work quite well. For nonfrozen highly evasive grunts, hit Spread Needles work better. For frozen enemies, Arrest Needle works better. In general both works quite well and this discussion only matters if you're min-maxing.

If I missed something important, please let me know.
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Minor changes 11/8:
  • Added a paragraph about how SN's more accurate partial combos may be useful in some cases.
  • Corrected Arrest chance for RAct on frozen enemies with 1000 EVP (700 EVP after reduction); I forgot there's a 0.02% chance to miss. It still can be considered reliable I think, and it still would be more effective than what Spread Needle would be able to do in the same scenario. RAcl has perfect accuracy against enemy with 729 EVP, and the only enemy with exactly 730 EVP I found is one person mode E2 Delsaber.
Ways the guide can still be improved 11/8:
  • Discuss in more detail the effectiveness of these two weapons on Girtablulu, and whether there are good alternatives.
  • Still need information on how much of an influence exactly does manual evasion affect the various scenarios, for example the effect on the total activation chances on rushing Dorphon and arms-flinging Girtablulu, and whether it will affect the conclusions much.
Dorphons slow down towards the end of their charge so their spawn point usually determines if you can stop them with NSS from a SN.

Too close and you simply can't react in time, too far and you can just sidestep them instead. The majority of dorphon charges can be stopped with a well timed NSS if you know where their coming from.. you can even SNH CK with Dmechs if their far enough out. I've never seen manual evasion play a role though, either the N hit and the dorphon stopped, or your already lying on the floor wishing someone precast gifoie.

I'll mention that it's possible to trapshoot DT dorphons that you can't usually hit with a SN or cast gifoie quick enough for. It's inconsistent and I'm not sure if it's due to desync but it can work in places like the troll ep4 fiasco warp.

Girta can be stunned with NSS too, preventing them from flailing, sometimes resetting their targetable area and stopping them from burying their claws underground where you are unable to hit them. I've never confirmed if they move fast enough to manually evade, but NSS removes the problem, and more, anyway.

Both the dorphon and girta need to actually take damage to be stunned, meaning you aren't getting the benefit from the SN 1S if you do this though.
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